FOH engineer Gordon Reddy (left) and monitor man Dave Rupsch both used DiGiCo SD8s on every stop of Fun.’s “More Nights” tour. In the depths of winter, it may be hard to remember the warm sunrays and rockin’ tours of summertime, but they did happen, and not that long ago. Indie poppers Fun. (spelt with a period at the end) traversed the U.S. on a 34-city tour that found the 2013 Grammy winners for Song of the Year and Best New Artist bringing their special brand of joyful tuneage to the masses throughout the summer. In short, they had joy, they had Fun., they had seasons in the sun.
Along for the ride was Montreal/ Las Vegas-based audio provider Solotech, which provided all the gear used nightly by FOH engineer Gordon Reddy and monitor man Dave Rupsch. PSN caught up with the pair on the second day of a two-night stand played at Hudson River Pier 26 on the side of New York City. By then, Reddy had been on the road for 20-plus months with the group while Rupsch climbed aboard the fast-rising band’s wagon on New Year’s Eve, 2012. Even all those shows later, the tour was still full of surprises.
“Detroit was good,” said Reddy, drily. “Right at the end of the last song, we had a little education for the system vendor: If you have a rack with all the drive processors for the sound system, maybe don’t put them on a UPS because statistically, it’s more likely to fail than the power company—and it did. We had 15-20 seconds left of the show and then all of a sudden, all the processors were offline and the PA was muted. And that’s when Nate [Ruess, lead singer] decided to give the aerial test to a gold-plated Shure 58 wireless. Got thrown up about 25 feet and landed right down on its side; passed with flying colors though.”
That wasn’t the only Shure mic on hand, as the band are endorsers. “I’ve got a peculiar choice on drums,” said Reddy. “I love the extended low frequency reach of small diaphragm condensers, so we’re using KMS137s all over the kit on snare, rack, floor, because it’s got a real throbby, deep tom-tom tuning, and most dynamics seem to drop off a little bit before the floor tom centers out at 40 Hz and the rack tom at 60.”
Rupsch concurred, noting, “It’s really impressive how the 137s are even on the snare and toms; they translate really well into the in-ears, so you can feel a lot of those low frequencies punch right where you want them to.” All but one of the bandmembers wore molded Ultimate Ears ear buds, the exception being guitarist Jack Antonoff, who preferred Shure 215E generics.
Console-wise, DiGiCo SD8s ruled the day—a choice made by the band’s previous, pre-fame FOH engineer, who chose digital desks in order to reduce the number of racks and cables carried in the band’s then tiny trailer. Reddy, a self-professed “antediluvian guy” (Google it), confessed, “I, with great trepidation, said, ‘OK, I’ll try and learn another digital desk,’ but once I was on it two shows, I loved this thing. It’s easy to lay out and for a guy who likes to hang onto the input and mix that way and not use complex skill schemes and control groups and whatnot, it was the closest thing I’ve touched to being on an old Heritage or an XL4, so I loved it quite readily.”
For Rupsch, learning the desk quickly meant he could focus on giving the musicians the in-ear mixes they wanted. “I’ve always been a fan of bass player mixes,” he said. “Our bass player [touring member Nate Harold] has got a great mix—a lot of aggressive drums and it’s all rhythm; it’s really nice in there. Everyone else has pretty standard mix on stage, and we’ve definitely developed a level of trust where they afford me that comfort level to craft nice mixes for them. I want to watch a great show, too, and if you get any artist comfortable, it becomes less about them coming on stage and worrying about their sound, and more about going out there and deciding how good of a show they want to put on.”
On the Fun. tour, the audience heard those shows nightly through a sizable Meyer Sound Leo system with hung arrays 14 deep on either side of the stage, bolstered by some two-dozen 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements. Also on hand were eight UPJunior VariO loudspeakers and six UPQ-1P loudspeakers for stage lip and front corner fill, respectively.
“It’s a good size kit and it’s doing really well—although we learned more about its ability to shed water in the last couple of days than its ability to punch out mechanical waves,” said Reddy. “We got an inch of rain in 30 minutes late yesterday afternoon and then got rained on most of the show—over two inches of rain recorded in Manhattan yesterday.”
Rupsch amended, “Today’s supposed to be even more—but don’t worry: It’s not until showtime.” And he was right. Now ain’t that Fun.
Solotech (Montreal/Las Vegas)
Meyer Sound Leo-M, 1100-LFC, UPJunior VariO, UPQ-1P
Ultimate Ears; Shure 215E
FOH Equipment/Plug- Ins:
Waves SoundGrid plug-ins; Meyer Sound Galileo Callisto
Monitor Equipment/ Plug-Ins:
Waves SoundGrid plug-ins;
Shure SM58, UHF-R wireless, KSM137s